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OMVIC Blog: Car Buying Tips

Is That Private Seller a Curbsider?

Jan 19

Written by: OMVIC Communications
Friday, January 19, 2018  RssIcon

 Private seller

Buying a new car can, and should be, a very exciting experience. When buying a used vehicle, consumers really only have two options: buy from a dealer/salesperson or buy privately. But remember, car-buyers are only protected by Ontario’s consumer protection laws when they purchase a vehicle from an OMVIC-Registered Dealer and therefore must take extra care when buying privately.

Buying Privately

OMVIC suggests asking the following questions when you first arrive to see a vehicle being sold privately:

  • How long have you owned the vehicle?
  • Do you have maintenance records?
  • Why are you selling it?
  • Can I see your ID? (compare it to the vehicle ownership - they must match!)
  • Can I take it for a thorough test drive? (not just around the block)
  • Can I have it inspected by my mechanic?

Additionally, consumers should purchase and review a vehicle history report like CarProof and a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP), before deciding to buy a used vehicle. Finally, request a receipt that includes the seller’s information and the actual selling price.

Just remember, if a private seller fails to disclose an important detail, (the vehicle was in an accident, has a lien on it, rolled-back odometer, etc.), the purchaser cannot make a claim to OMVIC’s Compensation Fund. The only recourse the consumer would have is to sue civilly.

Curbsiders

Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed dealers who usually pose as private sellers, pretending to sell their own personal vehicle, when in fact they are in the business of selling cars. Often the vehicles they sell are re-built wrecks or have rolled-back odometers.

So, what are some tell-tale signs that you may be dealing with a curbsider?

  • The vehicle is priced below market value
  • He/she doesn’t provide a vehicle history report
  • He/she refuses to let you have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic
  • The vehicle can’t be taken for a test drive (unplated/no insurance)
  • The vehicle is being sold privately but has a mechanic’s/dealer’s license plate
  • He/she only wants to meet in public
  • He/she won’t provide a receipt or proof of purchase
  • The vehicle is not registered in seller’s name or has only been registered in his/her name for a short period of time (less than one year)

How else can you tell if a private seller is a curbsider? If an unlicensed dealer, aka “curbsider”, has been previously charged and/or convicted by OMVIC you can search their name on OMVIC’s website under Charges and Convictions.

For more car-buying tips, the full list of mandatory disclosures and to learn about OMVIC’s Compensation Fund, visit OMVIC.ca.


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